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Refuse workers to strike saying talks are over

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Hundreds of council refuse collectors and street cleaners are to go on strike after union leaders said talks aimed at resolving a row over pay broke down.

The GMB said 600 workers at Leeds City Council would launch an indefinite walkout on 7 September in protest at cuts the union claimed would reduce the pay of some staff by up to £6,000 a year.

GMB official Bill Chard said: “There seems to be a complete lack of understanding and basic decency on behalf of the leadership of the council and their highly paid managers.

“I cannot comprehend why they believe that such huge cuts of this magnitude would be acceptable to GMB members. This strike will cause mayhem in Leeds and they must take the blame.”

But Richard Brett, leader of Leeds City Council said: “This reaction from the unions is extremely disappointing and to say the talks have broken down is not the case.

“We were encouraged by the continuation of talks … and are committed to resolving this dispute with further discussions.

“We outlined some proposals which we felt had a legitimate basis for addressing the pay gap but we must work within the job evaluation process, set out in the pay and grading review.

“We agreed to meet again next week to work up more details and to give the unions the chance to discuss the proposals with their members.

“Sadly, they seem to be determined to attempt to cause chaos and disruption to the people of Leeds by continuing to threaten strike action. We firmly believe industrial action will not resolve the pay issue, it will also inconvenience the public and lead to loss of pay to those involved.”

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